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Sony ENG / EFP Shoulder Mounts
Sony PDW-F800, PDW-700, PDW-850, PXW-X500 (XDCAM HD) and PMW-400, PMW-320 (XDCAM EX).


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Old April 8th, 2006, 12:58 PM   #1
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F330 F350 progressive and how its done.

Well I was lucky enough to attend a recent Sony seminar for Sony employees. I got to play with some of the latest kit, some yet to be released kit and I got to watch some amazing demos projected at 4k. On the flight home I was sat next to the XDCAM HD product manger for Sony Europe, so I gave him a good grilling about the F330 and F350. All the information I am giving here is to the best of my knowledge correct, although I may have not quite understood the guys english so a few details may or may not be correct.
Any way the progressive image is created from interlaced CCD's The CCD's are interlaced. In the progressive mode the R and B CCD's are clocked 1 field behind the G channel so for each full scan the combined G and R/B CCD scans cover the whole image area with G producing line 1,3,5,7 etc and R/B covering the even lines, for the next frame G becomes even lines and R/B odd lines. Using this technique and some DSP processing Sony are able to create a full res progressive frame in a single scan of the 3 CCD's so there are no interlace artifacts. Sony claim the progressive resolution to be the same as the interlace resolution upto 30fps.
One upshot of this method is that in effect the CCD's are only being scanned at half of thier full rate for each frame, that's why it has been possible to produce a camera that will actually work at upto 60fps. However above 30fps the CCD's are clocked in a more conventional manner and as a result there is a 50% drop in vertical resolution.
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Old April 8th, 2006, 01:09 PM   #2
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The F330 and F350 are the same camera the only difference is firmware and a couple of small daughter boards for the SDi output. they are both produced on the same line. The F330 will do timelapse but not overcranked frame rates. The F330 comes with a lower quality viewfinder and the silver colour was chosen to make the camera look cheap.
The MPEG codec has a different structure to HDV the Sony engineer was adamant that the MPEG implementation is quite different to HDV. He explained that the MPEG codec in the XDCAM HD range has been set up to minimise artifacts during transcoding and it has been tailored to provide optimum results for broadcasters using low bit rate MPEG 2 and MPEG 4 transmission chains. There is currently no NLE that will fully support the 35Mb mpeg 2 output, however they are working with AVID and Apple.

Now this got a little vague due to my not speaking Japanese and his English not being great, but from what I could gather if you play back a disk in camera the output over the firewire port is 25Mb HDV compatible MPEG and not the full 35Mb data rate. This is to be changed in a firmware update once NLE's that can handle the 35Mb data come to market.
However pluging the camera into a PC or Mac the drive becomes accesable and files can be transfered. Sony will be making available a low cost cuts only application that can cut the 35Mb files and then export them back to the camera.

Watch out for a new HD server and file sharing system at IBC.
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Old April 8th, 2006, 01:17 PM   #3
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The F330/F350 is two stops less sensitive than the high end 750 HDCAM and about a stop less sensitive than a DSR570 according to some comparitive tests I was able to do. Picture quality was certainly a good bit better than a Sony Z1 but not as rich as the 750. This is kind of what I was expecting. One very pleasant surprise was the almost total lack of noise. At 0db gain I could see no noticable noise.

Sony are not sure whether the 35Mb HD from the XDCAMs will be accepted by National Geographic HD or Discovery HD. They are adamant that the codec has been optimised to reduce the artifacts that have meant the restrictions on the use of HDV, I guess time will tell.

Sony are going to be launching a new tag line for thier HD consumer products, I'm not going to reveal it here but it's along the lines of "only 1080 or higher is really HD". Lookmout for a new range of 1920x1080 low cost(ish) LCD consumer displays (Bravia).

They are also pushing 4k and D cinema big time.
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Old April 8th, 2006, 02:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman
Any way the progressive image is created from interlaced CCD's The CCD's are interlaced. In the progressive mode the R and B CCD's are clocked 1 field behind the G channel so for each full scan the combined G and R/B CCD scans cover the whole image area with G producing line 1,3,5,7 etc and R/B covering the even lines, for the next frame G becomes even lines and R/B odd lines. Using this technique and some DSP processing Sony are able to create a full res progressive frame in a single scan of the 3 CCD's so there are no interlace artifacts. Sony claim the progressive resolution to be the same as the interlace resolution upto 30fps.
Wow could this be the way Canon does it with the H1? If so then how can SONY claim 24p when Canon felt like it had to claim 24F.

While this method does create some very clean non interlaced images I fail to see how it could have a resolution equal to 1080i. I am not complaining about the progressive video at all from the SONY and I do think it looks pretty amazing. If this is exactly what Canon is doing then why can SONY call it "P" when Canon felt as though they had to call it "F"?
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Old April 8th, 2006, 03:52 PM   #5
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I don't think this is the way canon are doing it. The Sony XDCAM progressive mode appears smoother than the canon progressive mode. Sony are calling it progressive because the image is actually captured in a progressive manner, they just happen to be using interlace devices to do it. I belive the CCD's are higher resolution than the required 1440x1080 which is why there is no resolution drop despite the fact that a single frame is made up of alternate lines from the green CCD and then the R/B CCDs.

By the way I still love my H1, I wish I had it with me on the Sony job, but not surprisingly Sony wanted me to shoot with Sony kit. I would have loved to see the H1 compared to the F350. Not convinced there would be that much difference.

was very surprised as well by how little difference there was between HDV, XDCAM HD and HDCAM when projected with the 4K SXDP on to a 50ft screen. The biggest difference was that the HDCAM footage looked richer and cleaner, but the HDV and XDCAM both looked good.

After seeing much of The DaVince Code, Star Wars 3 and an Imax film transferred and projected at 4k when the power points and SD video clips came on it was a bit of a shock, yuk!
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Old April 8th, 2006, 05:23 PM   #6
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No, the CCD spec is 1440x1080. Thanks for the info though. I'll have to think through the implications.

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Old April 8th, 2006, 06:29 PM   #7
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Sounds pretty much what I remember Canon frame mode being described as. If that's what Sony are doing, then progressive can't have full progressive resolution, although should look smooth, just like the f mode on the Canon XL1h. Easiest way would be Pappas' trick of putting a red filter infront of the lens and seeing what happens....

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Old April 9th, 2006, 12:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman
By the way I still love my H1, I wish I had it with me on the Sony job, but not surprisingly Sony wanted me to shoot with Sony kit. I would have loved to see the H1 compared to the F350. Not convinced there would be that much difference.
We certainly saw some difference while screening some footage tonight on a plasma display. I'll let Adam Wilt describe what we saw when he writes all this up. Hint: You might be surprised at the outcome.

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Old April 9th, 2006, 03:00 AM   #9
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Hmm. The info I had from the UK manager was that the progressive scan was PsF mode created in exactly the same way as cameras such as the F900 and 750. Sony have in fact stated this a few times.

Quote:
Sony are not sure whether the 35Mb HD from the XDCAMs will be accepted by National Geographic HD or Discovery HD.
:))

Quote:
The F330 comes with a lower quality viewfinder and the silver colour was chosen to make the camera look cheap.
The production 330's use a very similar gunmetal grey colour to the current SD XDCAM's rather than the silver that was seen on the prototype. Here's my preview gallery of my test with the 330;
http://xdcam.com.au/modules/xoopsgal...umName=album07

More in the forthcoming US edition of Showreel mag.

Quote:
The F330/F350 is two stops less sensitive than the high end 750 HDCAM and about a stop less sensitive than a DSR570 according to some comparitive
Compared to the PDW-510 the new cameras are very slow. The XDCAM HD's are rated at f9 while the previous cameras are rated at f11. I guess thats one of the trade off's for having HD at this price on that size of sensor.

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if you play back a disk in camera the output over the firewire port is 25Mb HDV compatible MPEG and not the full 35Mb data rate.
No, not quite. The PDW3xx cameras will not stream HDV compatible streams over firewire. In order to do this you need to have the F70 or F30 deck and an option board that will do this. You have to have recorded in 25mbps mode to begin with. You can't record 35mbps and then output 25mbps. The cameras will only output a downcoverted DVCAM signal over firewire. Whether this will change with a firmware update though...
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Old April 9th, 2006, 04:05 AM   #10
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But you can output HD 35Mbps over firewire (to a PC), isn't it?
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Old April 9th, 2006, 06:14 AM   #11
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No, the 35mbps mode cannot be streamed through the firewire. The cameras themselves cannot stream HDV compatible signals of any kind through firewire (only downcoverted DVCAM). The decks can stream 25mbps HDV compatible signals through firewire if you have the PDBK-102 option board, and if you have recorded the footage in 25mbps mode to begin with.

To be honest streaming an HDV style signal is not the best way to use XDCAM. Its strengths lie in a file based workflow, not a deck to PC style system. Once the NLE makers have updated their software to take the new MXF files things will run a lot more smoothly and you will be able to take advantages of all the XDCAM offers.

Regarding progressive I am not sure what to make of it after Alister's comments. One of the things I wanted to establish once and for all was how the progressive scan modes worked. I have been told on more than one occasion by Sony themselves that the camera is full resolution PsF style progressive scan just like the F900 and 750 cameras.

Whichever way they are doing it they are totally adamant that progressive scan up to 25fps (50hz) or 30fps (60hz) are full resolution.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 07:11 AM   #12
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Is there any other via to get native XDCAM-HD files from the camera to a PC without (any) losses?
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Old April 9th, 2006, 07:55 AM   #13
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Yes, use the XDCAM workflow.

When you hook up the XDCAM cameras or decks to the PC in FAM mode it acts like a hard disc. You then drag and drop the video files from the XDCAM disc onto your hard drive, or log them first using the PDZ-1 software. There are all sorts of cool things that can be done. And all of it revolves around a file based workflow.

IMHO streaming footage via firewire should be an absolute last resort. You won't be getting any benefit from the XDCAM workflow by doing that.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 04:14 PM   #14
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Now I think of it more I am sure Simon is correct about the firewire streaming output being SD DV only. The guys english wasnt great and I was struggling to grasp what he was saying.
We went over the progressive capture method a couple of times and I am sure I have the method correct. I don't know how the 750 etc creates a progressive image so maybe it is the same technique.
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Old April 10th, 2006, 04:27 AM   #15
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The progressive capture thing seems to still be causing confusion. Although I have been told on several occasions that it is the same PsF method that is used in other Sony cameras such as the F900.

BTW, has your stormchaser site been hacked? I'm into severe weather myself.
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